I had such an awesome day today full of great weather, amazing friends and… fabulous soup! A couple of very good friends came over for a laid back lunch. I haven’t seen either of them in a while, and we had some serious catching up to do! It was great spending some time with them, and it reminds me that I should have people over more often. It’s so much fun to cook for someone other than just myself!
Garden Salad topped with Smoked Paprika Hummus, Lemon Juice and Greek Yogurt Dressing with Toasted Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds
Toasted Bran Bread with Assorted Jams
Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup
This was a very simple lunch, but it was perfect for catching up with old friends. The soup recipe I came up with turned out so well, and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers in my lunches this week! After making bread last weekend, I froze half of it and was happy that it toasted up so nicely under the broiler today. The smoked paprika hummus is a new flavor to me, and the dressing had a bit of a Thousand Island taste to it. I think I might add a bit of sweet pickle relish the next time. That was the only flavor missing from the Thousand Island experience, and it might just be a good “special sauce” for a Boca burger.
This soup recipe came about because I had some cauliflower and wanted to make a soup. The end result tastes more like the beans than the cauliflower, but I’m not complaining! It was rich and creamy and satisfying while costing a mere 2 points for a huge bowl. Plus, it is vegetarian friendly, which was perfect since one friend is a long time vegetarian. I’m already thinking about making more, and I know it is going to be a staple recipe next winter! Here’s my recipe:
Creamy Cauliflower and Cannellini Soup
nonstick cooking spray
1 medium sized head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium sized carrot, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
4 cups of broth (chicken or veggie)
2 cups of water
juice of half a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 19 ounce can of Cannellini Beans with the liquid (I used the Progresso brand in calculating points)
1 cup of 1% lowfat cottage cheese
Salt to taste
Fresh dill for garnish
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet and spray the cauliflower with cooking spray. Roast in the 475 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Spray a large pot with cooking spray and heat on medium high. When the pot is hot, add the onions, garlic and carrot. Saute for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped dill and saute for an additional minute. Add the broth, cauliflower, water, lemon juice and beans (with the bean liquid) to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 20 minutes.
Puree the soup in small batches in a blender or food processor incorporating half of the cottage cheese in the first batch and the other half in the second. Continue processing the soup until it has all been pureed. Return the processed soup to the pot, stir well and heat through (about a minute). Add salt to taste. I added 3/4 tsp., but the broth I used was reduced sodium. The bean juice adds some salt too, so I’d just give it a little taste and adjust it to your liking. Garnish each bowl with a sprig of fresh dill if desired.
This makes 6 unofficial 2 point servings or 8 unofficial 1 point servings.
I was so pleased with this soup. The carrot gives it a little sweetness and color. Roasting the cauliflower beforehand adds some nice caramel bits as well. The beans and cottage cheese work together to make the soup creamy and give it a punch of protein, and the lemon and dill give it a few bright notes. I honestly have to say that this may be my favorite of the soup recipes I’ve concocted this winter. I’m so happy to know that I’ll be having some more tomorrow!
After lunch, I headed downtown to a very cool bowling alley, Lucky Strike, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I got to catch up with a few more friends while I was there, and it was just nice to be out and about on a very springlike day. If my friend is reading this, Happy Birthday to you!! I got there a bit late, so I didn’t actually bowl, but I had a great time watching everyone else and just hanging out. After the bowling, I headed home for my Sunday night cardio session followed by strength training with my trainer.
It was a full but fun day. Now, I’m going to try to get on track with the changes to the clock, so I’m headed to bed with a cup of tea and Pasta Queen’s book. I finished Dietgirl’s book, and I loved it so much. I think when I weighed over 300 pounds, I sometimes felt like I was the only girl in the world suffering through the experience. It’s so nice to read the words of someone who has walked in the same sensible and comfortable shoes as me, and who has endured so many of the same things. It’s also nice because her story has a happy ending. I’m a sucker for a happy ending!! As a bonus, Shauna has a stellar sense of humor, and I think we’d be fast friends. I highly recommend it!
Tonight’s workout was pretty great. I just find that I have so much more energy when the weather is favorable. I’m like a bear when it is cold. I’d rather just stay in my cave and hibernate! So, my question to you is this: What is your favorite thing about spring?
I wish you all sweet dreams in the wake of the time change! G’night… hopefully…!